A record number of doctoral candidates, or 95, have completed their PhDs from the University of Iceland in the last twelve months. This distinguished group was honoured at the University's annual Ceremony for Graduated Doctors today, on Iceland's Independence Day. Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, the President of Iceland, was present at this ninth ceremony of its kind.
This autumn marked the centennial of the first doctoral defence at the University of Iceland. It is safe to say that doctoral studies have changed radically since Páll Eggert Ólafson, who later served as a professor and Rector of the University, defended his doctoral thesis about Jón Arason, bishop, on 25 October 1919. Only male students graduated with PhDs in the first few decades. The first woman to defend her doctoral thesis at the University of Iceland was Selma Jónsdóttir, art historian, in 1960. In recent years women have been the majority of those who graduate from the University with this highest academic degree.
The number of PhD students increased slowly but steadily in the twentieth century, however, through clear and focused strategic planning and the consequent growth of the university as an international research hub in the twenty-first century, doctoral studies have been strengthened considerably. Indicative of this are the 600 PhD students that are currently enrolled at the University of Iceland.
The number of doctoral students who graduate has concurrently multiplied in the 21st century. Four doctoral candidates completed their PhD in 2001 from the University of Iceland, whereas 60-70 have graduated annually in the last few years, peaking this year with 95 candidates. The total number of doctoral graduates from the University of Iceland is thus currently well over eight hundred.
The contribution of PhD students in collaboration with their supervisors, is important in both teaching and research within the University of Iceland. This is reflected by the number of publications in world renowned scientific journals, and in the University’s place on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and ShanghaiRanking.
The doctoral candidates, who received the University's gold medal at the ceremony today, all graduated from the University of Iceland from 1 December 2018 to 1 December 2019. They graduated from all of the University’s five schools; 24 men and 71 women. Joint degrees with international universities are 9 in total, and the group was quite international, reflecting the strong international standing of the University. One third of the candidates that graduated between 1 December 2018 and 1 December 2019 have a foreign nationality.
By tradition the president of Iceland, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson addressed the doctoral graduates, both congratulating and encouraging the doctoral graduates. Furthermore, one of the doctoral candidates, Árdís Kristín Ingvarsdóttir, Doctor in sociology, addressed the ceremony on behalf of the post docs.
The University is extremely proud of this group of doctoral graduates and sincerely congratulates them on their PhD degrees, and wishes them well in the future in all their endeavours.